October 11th, 2008
08:44 AM ET
1 month ago

McCain to crowd: 'Don't be scared' of Obama presidency

McCain called for the crowd to cool its rhetoric Friday.
McCain called for the crowd to cool its rhetoric Friday.

LAKEVILLE, Minnesota (CNN) – John McCain heard boos at a town hall meeting Friday night after the Republican presidential nominee called for the crowd to be more respectful towards rival Barack Obama.

“We would like you to remain a true American hero,” an elderly military veteran told him. “We want you to fight.”

“I will fight, but we will be respectful,” McCain said. “I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments and I will respect him.”

When the crowd began to boo, McCain told them “No, no. I want everyone to be respectful.”

Watch: McCain tries to calm the crowd

Along with the veteran, four others pleaded with McCain to put up more of a fight against Obama.

One woman who said she had a lot of undecided neighbors said she wanted McCain to “go to the mattresses” on in his third and final debate with Obama on Wednesday.

While McCain said “I got my marching orders” from the supporters, he still seemed to resist their red-meat rhetoric.

One man said he was scared of an Obama presidency.

“My wife and I are expecting our first child, in April 2nd, next year,” the man said. “And frankly, we're scared. We're scared of an Obama presidency.”

McCain told the man he should not fear Obama.

“I want to be president of the United States, and I don't want Obama to be,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States.”

McCain's response was met with more boos from the crowd.

A McCain campaign senior adviser later denied that there was a change of tone at Friday night's town hall.

“I believe someone called (Obama) an Arab Muslim, which is factually incorrect, and he corrected that person,” said Mark Salter. “We’re going to campaign hard against this guy. I don’t think he pulled any punches on any issues.”

Since last weekend, when Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin first accused Barack Obama of "palling around with a terrorist" - a reference to 1960s radical William Ayers - rowdy crowds have called Obama a liar, terrorist and worse.

Asked about these outbursts, campaign manager Rick Davis said that he didn’t know who those people were, and if they were there as supporters or to disrupt the rallies. He said while people are “incredibly frustrated” that he is “very confident that it has nothing to do with what our candidates are saying or doing on the stump because I think that if you compared the rhetoric of Barack Obama on a daily basis with the rhetoric of John McCain and Sarah Palin, you’ll find that our rhetoric pales in comparison to what Barack Obama says about John McCain every day.”

And while McCain may be trying to tamp down the rhetoric on Obama, he may be walking a fine line, careful to not extinguish the enthusiasm he needs to win.

"Now, I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity, but that just means it's got to be respectful. Ok?” he told the crowd Friday.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • Minnesota
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. American

    In other words McCain wants to Lose with dignity...and america agrees....

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08/12!

    October 11, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Hands

    McCain is playing the game....shame on him.

    October 11, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. David

    It's easy for obama to play it respectful, he has the media do his dirty work.

    October 11, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Wendy

    It's about time McCain be a stand-up guy about all of this. I would never have expected him to wage this kind of campaign, considering what was done to him in 2000.

    October 11, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. gail

    Mccain is a joke, first slander now calming the crowds. this guy is really digging himself further into a hole. He needs to put tape on Palins lips not lipstick.

    October 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. proud army and navy mom

    Mccain and his staff incites fear and hate, but then tells his rabid crowd not to fear and hate.

    Please don't tell me Mcliar was not aware of what Palin and his campaign staff were doing, it was all over the media.

    The only reason he is speaking up now is because some very decent Republicans criticized his strategies.

    October 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Jack 64 year old

    It's hard to calm the lynch mob after they have the rope out and are marching in anger.

    John and Sarah have unleashed the hatred and racism and now they have that as part of their legacy.

    October 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. charles

    i think if senator mccain would have gotton a single weman with no children that looks like sara palin obama would not be leading in the polls this is not to say anything about sara palin personally she is probably a good wife and mother to her children and very attractive this is to say that the male vote in american would get mccain elected is she was single.

    October 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. scott

    McCain an fine upstanding citizen, a war hero and a man of intergity.

    Qualities this country needs to lead it to glory once again.

    God Bless the USA and God Bless McCain, a true gentleman.

    October 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. DrFill

    Truth and Respect show up late to the McCain campaign
    He knew what that lady wanted to say.
    He had to jump in.
    He is just starting to govern his own campaign
    About time.
    DrFill

    October 11, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. America think for you

    Scare tactics.

    October 11, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. linda from South Dakota

    there you go again,, mccain,, you get people so riled up,, almost to a riot stage,, then you talk positive about obama,,, then minutes later you are back to negative about him??? this is called flip-flopping,, mccain,,, charged and found guilty,,,,,,,mccain,,,, no more denying it

    October 11, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Tab Cocovillea

    Incredible. The limits of stupidity are once again being tested.

    October 11, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. ohio

    I am an Obama supporter and I will give HIGH FIVE to mccain for respecting other.

    October 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. atlsan69

    The Republicans don't know how to be respectful. They are a bunch of thugs. I say that because you have people in their crowds saying "kill him". The little old lady was misinformed and called him an Arab. What is this? Simply the Republican Party have no clue.

    Obama/Biden

    October 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Turnabout is fair play

    You've been warned that if you don't put a muzzle on your female dog with lipstick and tell your racist Klan members that attend your rallies to stop and something happens to Obama, you will be FINISHED McCain. He HAD to say something to these lunatics at his rally because of the pressure being put on him by his own campaign and those in law enforcement.

    October 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Obama 2008

    I don't want a president who will be only representing people that are full of hate!!

    October 11, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. Nicole

    I wonder if this would be an example of the concession speech on 11-4...

    October 11, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Independent: NOW FOR BARACK AND JOE

    This is what happens when you incite rage and violence through campaign rhetoric. It WILL get out of control!

    October 11, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. lule richards

    I GUESS MCCAIN CAN MAKE MORE DECENT PEOPLE LISTEN TO HIM AGAIN IF HE STICKS TO ISSUES AND SHOWS MORE RESPECT TO OBAMA:
    THIS IS BECAUSE ALL OF US WHO HAVE LIVED OUT OF AMERICA AT SOME TIME KNOW THAT EVERY ONE NEEDS TO BE RESPECTED REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE AND ORIGIN

    October 11, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. SN

    McCain stop saying "My friends". Dude I am not your friend and certainly not your sidekicks friend.

    October 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    Unfortunately, I have trouble believing that this is anything other than another "tactic" at this point. If this "change" in heart is real, I applaud you.

    October 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. JT

    Ayers was a university professor who had been honored by the City of Chicago for his service to the city. He was a young child whe Ayers was planting bombs at government buildings. McCain being older has a different frame of reference, going back 40 years.

    October 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. TheTruthHurts

    – "The freaks come out a night"

    Whodini. circa 1984

    Sorry McCain, but you picked the running mate that started this mess. You should have known better.

    October 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Lynn in NM

    Sorry, Sen. McCain, but I am afraid any time a Democrat is President. Taxes go through the roof, and national defense goes down the tubes. Remember Bill Clinton? Remember President Carter?

    October 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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